Roy Speer, the co-founder of Home Shopping Network, was a Florida billionaire once listed on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans.
His investments were handled by Ami Forte of Morgan Stanley, and she made tens of millions buying and selling on his behalf. Because of her expertise in handling Speer's assets and other top-flight accounts worth $2 billion, she became a managing director and one of the few female members of Morgan Stanley's Chairman's Club, which was reserved for its top wealth-management advisers. She, too, was well known around her home near Tampa, serving on several boards and was once named 'Businesswoman of the Year' by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
But there was something else between Forte and Speer: a years-long love affair — and after Speer died in 2012, things got messy, with his widow alleging that Forte and Morgan Stanley took advantage of him in his later years to earn millions in commissions. Forte was fired, and she is now fighting back by filing an arbitration case against Morgan Stanley challenging that decision.
"I cared deeply for this person," Forte said, during an exclusive interview with The Associated Press on Monday. "The type of relationship we had changed over the years. We were very, very dear friends. It changed to a very dear friendship, there was a time when it was more than that."